André Verburg, (Law Department) will defend his dissertation at Utrecht University on 12 July. It is titled: 'Even-handed Proceedings before the Administrative Law Judge'.
The framework for research, procedural justice, focuses on questions of what it takes for parties in court proceedings to accept those proceedings as fair and just. The subjects of research are several aspects of administrative law proceedings: the hearing and its follow-up, final dispute settlement and matters of proof. For each aspect the bottlenecks are identified. These bottlenecks are confronted with the framework of procedural justice.
In the first place, the administrative law judge needs to acknowledge both the litigant and the government body as important members of society. The law is not just executed, with the litigant as an object of the law, but the litigant is part of the process, part of the proceedings. The litigant can expect to be met with respect, to be taken seriously.
Secondly, the administrative law judge needs to focus on final dispute settlement, not only by trying to reach an administrative decision that can stand judicial scrutiny, but also by trying to strengthen the appeal. The focus of the administrative law judge on final dispute settlement brought about an unintended result: proceedings during which the administrative law judge is inclined to give the government body an extra opportunity to improve its argument or the evidence for its decision (‘administrative loop’), but is certainly not inclined to give the same opportunities to the litigant (the missing ‘litigant loop’). The administrative law judge should take into consideration the precise responsibilities of all parties, namely government bodies and litigants, in matters of proof.